The NME Tour, 9th February 2010

Rock City on the 9th February was engulfed by a sea of skinny jeans, foppish haircuts and vintage denim. For one night only, it was taken over by a hoard of indie quirkies all bursting with anticipation as they queued up all the way past Rescue Rooms, that random burger stall, and then across the road, ready to see the four acts that the venue had in store. The night promised an array of eccentric, simple-but-catchy, two-chord tunes about lost love and it certainly did not disappoint.

The first band to kick off the night was the New York-based, Cure-inspired quartet The Drums; they set the line up off to an energetic and vivacious start, spilling their hearts across the stage with frustratingly catchy indie ditties that were irresistibly easy to bop along to. They impressively got the crowd excitable and, despite the lead singer’s questionable ‘we-are-so-quirky’ hand and arm movements, generally put on a great performance.

Next up were The Big Pink. Far less effective at getting the crowd riled up, this band proved themselves to be a bit of a one-hit-wonder, with everyone jumping around to ‘Dominoes’, whilst placidly swaying to the rest of their songs.

Nothing could compete with the group that were to follow, as Bombay Bicycle Club put on a simply stunning, yet also admirably humble performance. Jack Steadman’s beautiful and distinctive vocals resonated long after the band left the stage, the highlights being ‘Magnet’, ‘Evening/Morning’ and the ghostly and well-loved ‘Always Like This’. Having performed an acoustic set at our very own New Theatre the same day, this band proved themselves to be a genuinely versatile and talented band, capable of making us dance and making us tingle.

They left the perfect atmosphere for the heartfelt climax of the evening: The Maccabees. With crooning vocals, delicate through to vigorous guitar riffs and an emphatic drum beat, this band won over every single member of the crowd with perfect renditions of ‘No Kind Words’, ‘Can You Give It’ and ‘First Love’. Although this standard of performance can be expected from a successful and popular band such as themselves, their performance was in no way predictable; an enigmatic and diverse brass section added colour and animation to ‘All In Your Rows’, and the soulful ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ was received with a mass of swaying hands and unified whistling. The dim lights closed in as their set ended with ‘Love You Better’, a dramatic finale that left us all chanting along and wanting more. All in all, a fantastic performance and a great night.

Sarah Dawood


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